Nazi Germany (the Third Reich) is a name given to the German state from 1933 to 1945 when it was under a totalitarian hilter_nazi_regimedictatorship ruled by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler legally became Chancellor of Germany, installed by President Paul Von Hindenburg. Initially he headed a coalition government, he quickly made Hindenburg a puppet and eliminated his non-Nazi partners. The Nazi regime brought back economic prosperity and ended unemployment using heavy military spending while suppressing labor unions and strikes. The return of prosperity gave the regime immense popularity. The party’s platform was based on total state power and the elimination of Bolshevism and certain minorities.

The Gestapo, which were secret state police, under Heinrich Himmler destroyed the liberal, socialist and Communist opposition and persecuted the Jews, seeking to force them into exile while taking their property. The Party took control of the courts, local government, and all civic organizations except the Protestant and Catholic churches. All expressions of public opinion were controlled by Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotic speaking. The Nazi state idolized Hitler as its Führer, putting all powers in his hands. Nazi propaganda centered on Hitler and was rather effective in creating what historians called the “Hitler Myth—Providence come true”. Hitler had a narrow range of interests and decision-making was diffused among overlapping, feuding power centers; on some issues he was passive, simply assenting to pressures from whomever had his ear. All top officials reported to Hitler and followed his basic policies, but they had considerable autonomy on a daily basis.

Hitler's diplomatic strategy in the 1930s was to make supposedly reasonable demands, threatening war if they were not met. This strategy worked as Germany left the League of Nations. Also, they rejected the Versailles Treaty and began to re-arm, winning back the Saar, re-militarized the Rhineland, formed an alliance with Benito Mussolini's Italy, sent massive military aid to Franco in the Spanish Civil War, annexed Austria in the Anschluss, took over Czechoslovakia after the British and French appeasement of the Munich Agreement of 1938, formed a peace pact with the Soviet Union (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) in August 1939, and finally invaded Poland in September 1939. Britain and France declared war and World War II began—somewhat sooner than the Nazis expected or were ready for.

During the war, Germany conquered or controlled most of Europe and Northern Africa. The Nazis persecuted and killed millions of Jews, Slavic, Romani and other people and others in the Holocaust Final Solution. Despite its Axis alliance with other nations, mainly Italy and Japan, by 8 May 1945 Germany had been defeated by the Allied Powers, and was occupied by the Soviet Union, United States, UK and France.

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